While new bow designs present maintenance challenges, new bow presses meet the challenges.
Here's a common evolution in bowhunting: Newcomers start with limited knowledge and rely on others for technical assistance. However, they eventually upgrade their equipment, and the evolution picks up speed. They become more meticulous about their gear and reach a point at which they're setting up and maintaining their own bows, and their archery tackle boxes begin to fill with tools. Finally, they complete the evolution when they acquire their own bow presses.
With a press you can install peeps, string silencers, drop-away rest actuator cords, new strings, new buss cables, and cams. You can eliminate annoying squeaks by pressing your bow and disassembling the cams and axles for cleaning. You can even change limbs. You can fine-tune your peep position by twisting the bowstring, tweak your bow's timing and synchronization by twisting cables and strings, and even correct cam lean.
However, the evolution of bow designs has created problems. Parallel and beyond-parallel limbs and forked risers have rendered many older bow presses obsolete. Finding a press to work on all bows -- both yours and your instant new friends' -- is the challenge.
Below are some versatile bench presses ranging from high-end pro shop models to affordable presses for your home shop. Warning: Always follow bow manufacturers' recommendations when pressing any bow.
No one has been making bow presses longer than Apple Archery, and they've had to evolve, too. They have three new presses, the latest being the Eliminator, a press that solves all the design problems and doesn't require adapters. This pro-shop-level press adjusts fully to press any and all compound bows.
The Evolution is another in Apple's Pro Series designed for everyday work in a pro shop, or for serious individual archers. It features synchronous arm movement for equal compression on both limbs, as well as conventional and limb-tip configurations.If your bow work is less ambitious, you can opt for the economy-minded Apple Edge Bow Press. With both conventional limb compression and limb-tip compression, the Edge will handle most pressing needs for one-fifth the cost of the Pro Series.
Contact: Apple Archery, 1-800-745-8190, www.applearchery.com
BUCKEYE ARCHERY SOLUTIONS
Called the Bow-A-Constrictor, this press from Buckeye Archery Solutions can be quickly disassembled and will even fit in a standard bow case (without a bow, of course). The pieces all fit together quickly and securely, and the Bow-A-Constrictor will press any bow currently available.
A Power Bar connecting the upright sections has a pin system for quick length adjustment. Lower pins go against the limbs near the limb pockets, and torque rods are positioned near the cams. Cranking the handle on the Power Bar does all the work quickly and with ease. Also available are a stand kit and a draw kit for timing your bow.
Contact: Buckeye Archery Solutions, (330) 984-2855, www.buckeyearcherysolutions.com
The E.L.P. Bowpress compresses a bow with equalized limb pressure -- E.L.P. -- which prevents the potential damage of lesser presses. Another unique thing about the E.L.P. press is a string capture device that holds your bow in position as you make necessary frame adjustments.
Pivot pins are adjusted as far out on the riser as possible, and the compression pins are situated close to the cam. Simply turning the jack handle presses the bow. Specialty Limb Adapters are available to press bows with beyond-parallel limbs.
Contact: LA Archery, (270) 559-9055, www.laarcherysupply.com
LAST CHANCE ARCHERY
This company's EZ Press may be the simplest, most streamlined yet functional press on the market. The EZ Press is a high-quality option that will press any compound bow you may run across. Adjustable, rubberized "fingers" are positioned against the limb tips on either side of the cam/wheel. Turning the large wheel at the end of the press draws the fingers together, pressing the bow with minimal stress. The fingers can be adjusted to any bow, making the EZ Press extremely versatile.
For those who do a lot of bow work, the EZ Press comes in a motorized version. However, bows of greater than 70-lbs. draw weight require the manual EZ Press.
Contact: Last Chance Archery, (706) 654-1961, www.lastchancearchery.com
Unique in its simplicity, this press comes in two versions. The Omni Press employs a hydraulic jack and cable to compress the upright sections. Rubberized posts press the limbs just below the cams. Bungee cords secure the bow to the press while you work.
The Omni STRAIGHTLINE Linear Bow Press has a telescoping main section that adjusts from 24-53 inches. Special U Pins positioned around the cam and against the limb tips allow you to press any bow design currently on the market. The U Pins also work on the original, less-expensive Omni Press. Special "overarms" safely capture your bow so it won't creep out of the press.
Contact: Omni Press, (406) 239-5534, www.omniarchery.com
Look in many archery shops and you'll likely see a Sure-Loc X-Press. Almost infinite adjustability adapts this press to any bow design. Sure-Loc says you don't have to back out your limb bolts or remove any accessories to use their press, but, again, always follow bow makers' recommendations.
Gear-driven with a forward-facing crank, the new Sure-Loc X-Press Pro requires no timing adjustments, so it's quicker than its predecessor. Sure-Loc makes a kit to convert earlier models into X-Press Pros. The X-Press adapts to either a bench or stand.
Contact: Sure-Loc, (812) 689-9926, www.sureloc.com
W.E. CUSTOM SHOOTING WORKS
This company makes several models of presses, the most versatile being the Hydra-Press Elite. Making contact with no other parts of the bow, the Elite presses bows only at the limb tips. The rubber-coated fingers can be adjusted to the limb spacing on your bow, and a simple turn of the crank compresses the limbs of bows of all sizes and shapes.
The rear fingers are slotted to allow for clearance of draw stops, dampen
ers, and other limb attachments. This is a very simple and economical bench press.
Contact: W.E. Custom Shooting Works, www.hydra-press.com